The St. Pete Pier is finally complete, and the grand opening is today! However, the celebrations will not go as originally planned for this week. Due to the pandemic, people will have to make reservations online in order to access the newly renovated St. Pete Pier. Afterward, it will be open to the entire public to enjoy the 26-acre space.
I had the privilege of being able to explore the new St. Pete Pier with my son before it opened to the public. It was an incredible exPIERience!
Take a look at some of the cool things to check out at the St. Pete Pier with the family.
Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center
The Discovery Center, a facility operated by the Tampa Bay Watch, gives visitors the opportunity to learn about Tampa Bay’s ecosystem. It’s an entertaining and hands-on experience for the entire family! My five-year old enjoyed learning about the spider crab, sea stars, snails, barnacles and sea urchins. There’s also a wave tank and interactive sandbox that was a major hit with my son.
There’s a small admission fee for the facility. Tickets are available for purchase at the Discovery Center. The prices are: Adult (Age 13-61): $5 | Child (Age 4-12): $3 | Senior (Age 62+): $5 | Toddler (3 and under with an adult): FREE | Active Military (with ID): $3 | Florida Teachers (with ID): $3.
You can find plenty of hand sanitizer stations to keep those hands clean and germ-free. You must wear a mask inside of the facility at this time.
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille
Stop by Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille to try their signature dish, the Yucatan Shrimp. It was soooo good! Make sure to dip the bread in the sauce. You will not be disappointed!
The 10,000-square-foot restaurant/bar serves fresh local seafood and Caribbean inspired dishes. This will definitely be the popular spot for visitors at The St. Pete Pier. There’s plenty of outdoor seating with incredible views for guests.
The Playground at The St. Pete Pier
My 5-year old was ready to check out the new playground as soon as we arrived to The Pier. There’s a play area for children ages 2-5 that offer crawl spaces, spinning seat and a slide. Parents have a seating area to watch their little ones play. My son spent most of his time in the play area for children ages 5-12. This area is equipped with cool things to entertain the kids and improve their gross motor skills.
Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle for your trip to The Pier. There’s a station to fill it up at the playground as well as a water fountain. Kids can clean their hands at one of the hand sanitizer stations in the area.
If the children need to cool off, stop by the splash pad area. There’s covered seating available for guests.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Curran, Vice President/ Principal for ASD|SKY. He was excited to share all the details about the new St. Pete Pier. I learned about the open-air wet classroom that’s perfect for field trips and summer camps. The wet classroom is bordered by walkways that will have railings and includes a covered observation deck. John explained that the posts you see in the water are from the previous structure of the St. Pete Pier. He also shared cool tips to get the best view of the entire area. Visit the tilted lawn near the Spa Beach so that you can climb to the top with the kids. Go to the edge at the top for one of the best views. Here’s a picture of John smiling behind the mask.
Things to Know
There is no charge to enter the Pier District. However, there will be ticketed special events planned throughout the year.
Fishing is only permitted on the Fishing Deck located to the east of the Pier Point building.
There are four tram stops located throughout the Pier District. Passengers will be spaced out on the tram to follow CDC guidelines.
There are two parking lots as well as on-street metered parking located on the Pier along Pier Drive. Payment can be made at the Pay Stations within the parking lots, at meters for on- street parking, or via the Park Mobile app. Outside the Pier complex, metered street parking is available, as are several downtown parking garages and lots within walking distance of the Pier.
The St. Pier is bicycle-friendly. Bike racks are available for personal bicycles.
There are trash cans throughout the property as well as recycling containers for guests.
There are touch-free hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the Pier District.
Spa Beach has been expanded and given a naturalized shoreline. Get there on foot from anywhere along St. Pete’s gorgeous downtown waterfront.
Guests are required to wear cloth face coverings/masks where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as The Discovery Center, restaurants, etc. However, visitors are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings/masks in the other areas of the St. Pete Pier.